Ready to launch your first product? Guarantee your success by learning the seven most important things you need to do BEFORE launching on Amazon.
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Launching your product for the first time on Amazon can be rather nerve-wracking.
- “What if my product turns out not to be profitable?”
- “What if I end up wasting a bunch of money?”
- “What if my launch goes wrong?”
What if, what if, what if.
With a thousand things all going on at once — the endless back-to-back negotiating with suppliers, creating a plan for your big launch, building your listing, taking photos of your product — it is easy to start feeling overwhelmed. (Reading this was even overwhelming!)
And in the midst of this endless to-do list, we tend to lose clarity over what is important, and what tasks are actually wasting our time.
Today, I want to help clear the “mental fog” you might be experiencing and provide you with a ‘checklist’ of seven things you need to do BEFORE launching on Amazon.
If you can tick off all seven, great — you’re in a perfect position to start selling on Amazon!
Or if you find your list short from meeting all seven, then this is a great opportunity for you to pinpoint what NEEDS to be done in time for your first launch.
this article will offer you a sense of clarity, while helping you measure
whether or not you are in full-gear to crush your first launch!
#1: Have a Launch Plan to Get Sales
Having a launch plan is VITAL. You can’t skip this step!
If you don’t have a strategy for how you are going to make sales, having a successful business — let alone a successful launch — is nearly impossible.
Why? In order to make sales consistently, your aim should be to have your product listing reach the first page, because this is where a large majority of sales are made.
Amazon decides where your listing ranks based on sales velocity, which is how many sales your product is making.
If Amazon sees your product is generating dozens of sales every day, they will greatly favour your listing and rank it higher in the search engine.
Why? It is a win-win; the more sales you make, the more commissions they earn— and the more money you both make.
This is why creating a plan on how to generate A LOT of sales in a short period is important. A lot of sales means that Amazon will increase your ranking and push you to the first page of results.
A key ‘hack’ to driving your product to the first page fast is to beat the sales of your top competitor.
Using a tool like Jungle Scout, you can sneakily find out exactly how many sales your top competitor is making.
Knowing this now, you need to create a step-by-step strategy for how you are going beat them.
Are you going to lower your price? Offer a discount coupon? Run a pay-per-click ad?
These methods are all highly effective in gaining sales (and there are so many other strategies), but you need a solid plan for how you want to approach your launch.
If you need guidance on creating a launch plan, the video below reveals six hacks to make your first launch a home-run success.
#2: Take Incredible Photos of Your Product
While sales velocity is super important factor when Amazon chooses which products to promote, there is another factor that is just as important: conversions.
The higher your conversion rate, the more likely Amazon is to promote your products.
And based on extensive testing and research, Amazon has found product photos to be the number-one conversion factor.
Having amazing photos of your product gives you an unfair advantage over you competitors, as the majority of sellers don’t actually prioritize this (which is a total surprise, since it’s low-hanging fruit!)
The message here obviously is to make sure that you have high quality images of your product.
What makes a photo high quality? The main image should be taken on a white background; as for the size and frame, Amazon recommends your photo should be at least one thousand pixels and fill up 85% of the frame.
All images should be a combination of your product from different angles, images of people using it, diagrams, instructions, and any other important features about the product.
If your supplier’s photos are high quality, using these images would be a great place to start. If not, a good idea would be to order a sample of your item and have a professional photographer take these images for you.
This is will help you to stand out (as chances are other sellers are sharing images provided by the suppliers) and dramatically increase your click-through rate.
#3 Get Friends & Family to Buy Your Product
Reviews are a powerful form of social proof. It’s no surprise that 88% of consumers check reviews before making a purchase decision.
But as a newbie — someone who has not even started selling — getting reviews for your product is rather challenging. How do you get reviews when no one has even purchased it yet?
The sneaky workaround solution is to have friends and family buy your product and leave a positive review.
Have 5-10 family members or friends purchase your product on the day of (or very close to) your launch. To go a step further, have them take either a video or an image review of your product! Yes, you might have to twist their arm a little. But it is a SUPER powerful method to help you increase conversions.
In addition, get your friends and family to search for your targeted keyword on Amazon, scroll through the item listings, and THEN buy your product. This will send a strong signal to Amazon that they should rank your product for that keyword.
So instead of sending them your listing’s URL, actually have them type in the keyword you are ranking for, scroll and search for it, then buy it. Though this may take a while, it is an incredibly powerful trick for having your product rank faster.
Positive reviews indicate to other people (who are interested in buying your product) that it is VALUABLE…
….and in doing so, they are more likely to buy your product because they can trust you.
Using reviews is just one ‘psychological trigger’ that you can leverage to grow your sales. In another other blog post, we reveal 10 ways tricks that you can use when selling your product.
#4: Have a Plan to Get Reviews from Customers
As mentioned above, having friends and family purchase your product is a great strategy to gain reviews quickly…
But what about your customers? How can you get your OTHER customers to leave you a review?
The answer is rather simple: You ask them! Using an email marketing tool like Jump Send lets you follow-up with verified customers through an email sequence.
In this sequence, you simply follow-up with customers on their experience with the product, and ask them if they could kindly leave you a review.
With no plan in place to gain reviews, you are greatly limiting how many reviews you could be getting—the conversion rate of purchase-to-review is less than 1%!
Using a tool like Jump Send can more than double your conversion rate. In your email sequence, here is a nice structure to follow:
- Email #1: Send this email on the day the item is shipped to the customer. Let customers know their item is on its way.
- Email #2: Send this email out two days after the item has been delivered. Ask them if they are enjoying their order — and if they could leave an honest review.
- Email #3: Send this email a week after the item has been delivered. Again, ask if they are enjoying the item and if they could leave an honest review.
Having an email sequence like will help you gain more reviews consistently. Remember: if you don’t ask, you won’t get. So never assume customers will simply come along and leave their own review, no matter how incredible your product is.
#5: Form a Limited Liability Company (LLC)
Now, just a disclaimer: To starting selling on Amazon, you DON’T need to legally form a company. You can start selling immediately as a sole proprietor.
But even though you don’t have to,; forming a limited liability company is the most ideal choice.
Why? The main reason why you should consider forming a Limited Liability Company is because it protects you from being sued, i.e., it offers you “limited liability.” What this means is that creditors can’t go after you personally if your company gets sued.
So if for example you were to get sued over copyright infringement — maybe you used images for your listing that were subject to copyright — your personal bank account wouldn’t take a hit from the lawsuit, though your business would.
But without this limited liability, you risk being personally attacked, which can get you into potentially damaging consequences.
Again, while it is not entirely necessary to form an LLC, it’s the safe thing to do.
Besides, having an LLC will allow you to more easily manage other priorities in your business, such as your sales and income tax obligations.
#6: Have a Back-up Cash Plan
Most newbies only focus on spending money on inventory, but this puts them at risk of running into cash flow issues at the start.
When you sell on Amazon, you do not get paid straight away from your customers. Instead, Amazon holds your money for two weeks as a new seller.
During these two weeks, you will have other expenses to pay for: inventory, subscriptions, and other important fees. And without any cash-in-hand to cover each item, you can land yourself into bigger problems.
To avoid this, you need to be able to pay for expenses in the meantime and not rely upon the money that you have earned as a seller on Amazon.
In particular, you want to have a plan in-place for how you will be able to pay for new inventory in case your product starts selling well.
Amazon does not like it when you run out of stock, especially if you are making a lot of sales, so you need to make sure you always have inventory stored in the FBA warehouse.
Before you launch on Amazon, make sure you have some way to pay for expenses. You can do this by either using a credit card and paying off the balance once your funds arrive, or you can simply save up $500-1,000 in reserve cash to use for your expenses.
Either way, the message here to have money in reserve for any surprise expenses.
#7: Know Your Sales Tax Obligations
Even though we all hate them, taxes are important — especially as a seller on Amazon.
As a seller, you are required to pay two types of taxes: sales and income tax. However, based on where you live, your tax obligations may differ from someone else.
For example, someone who lives in Australia would have different income tax obligations to someone who lives in the US.
Even if you don’t live in the United States, you may still be required to collect and pay sales tax within certain states based on your location. This is why it is important to be clear on YOUR obligations, as it varies country to country.
Taxes are boring, sure, but they aren’t as complicated as you’d imagine. In fact, all there really is to it is knowing your obligations — and complying with them!
In fact, we created an article that goes into taxes in detail for Amazon sellers. We recommend also reading up on this to gain a wealth of knowledge around your tax obligations.
Nevertheless, taxes are one thing you can only run away from for so long. Instead of being intimidated by them, protect yourself well in advance by being clear on what and how you are going to sort out your taxes.
The Bottom Line
If you want to have a flying start, doing what is important (and not wasting too much time on minor tasks) gives you a bigger chance to succeed on Amazon.
Following these seven ground rules almost guarantees your success on Amazon — before you even start selling.
Whether you are yet to start selling or already have products up on Amazon, take the time to tick off all seven of these steps as soon as possible.
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